Transportation in the USA on your J-1 Program
Congratulations on securing your J-1 internship! It’s time to start thinking about your everyday life in the U.S.
While you are in the U.S. on your J-1 program, you will have many different options for navigating your new city!
Arriving on-time to your training, especially on the first day, is expected and impressive! To help you, CICD has put together helpful transportation tips and tricks:
- Vehicle Transportation
The United States is a very car-friendly place! While many cities have great public buses or train systems, cities and towns in rural areas often do not have alternative methods to driving cars. Research the area before you go in case you may need to purchase a bike or car to get to your internship.
Pro Tip: Rent an apartment or room near your internship site of activity to avoid transportation issues!
- Public Transportation
High-cost areas like San Francisco and Washington DC have inner-city train systems. Note that the cost of tickets can add up quickly if you take the train daily. Look for discount plans on your city’s transportation website, such as monthly train passes, to save money. You may be eligible to receive discounts if you train at a certain company or government office. Be sure to ask your host company if they know of any tricks to help you get a cheaper fare (they might even be able to offer you a bus card to use for free!).
- Carpooling Options
If you live in an area where trains and buses are not an option, you may want to consider carpooling to your internship with a coworker every day. Your coworker may ask you to help with money for gas, but the cost would be very reasonable. Carpooling is a great way to spend time improving your conversational English and making lifelong friendships.
Public transportation in the U.S. may have delays due to traffic. The best way to plan your commute is to use an app like Google Maps, or another transportation app, to plan your trip during the busiest traffic time in most cities. Note that there is often more traffic during the rush hour times of 6AM-9AM and 4PM-6PM.
- Car or Bike Rental
Renting or leasing a car should be used as a last resort for daily transportation, as it is typically the most expensive way to get around. While renting a car is great for road trips or short vacations within the U.S., but may not be best long-term solution. Most major cities in the U.S. also offer bike renting options.
If you do want to rent a car, keep the following in mind:
- You must be at least 21 years old to rent a car in most states.
- You must have a driver’s license that is valid in the U.S., such as an international driver’s license.
- Typically, you must also have a credit card to book your reservation.
Remember to report any major transportation issues to your supervisor, as they may able to offer solutions. If you are in an accident, please first research your health insurance information and rights. If for any reason you are not able to attend your internship due to a lack of transportation, please report it to CICD so we can help!
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